Flippie’s epileptic fits still at issue
Cape Town - Flippie Engelbrecht’s self-styled spokeswoman has denied claims that the 20-year-old suffered from epilepsy at least two years before he was allegedly assaulted.
These claims came to light last week, just hours after farmer Johnny Burger committed suicide at his home on the Rietvallei Wine Estate last Tuesday.
Mariette Addelaar, the packing manager on the nearby Saratoga farm, told the Cape Argus that she used to live next to the Engelbrechts in 2006.
She claimed that Flippie had suffered from frequent epileptic fits then.
“My child did not even want to play with him because of his fits.” She said Flippie’s condition was widely known.
It is the State’s case that in 2008, Burger and his farm manager Wilhelm Treurnicht beat Flippie, who was 15 at the time.
According to the Freedom Trust’s secretary, Carina Papenfus, who has championed Flippie’s cause, the assault left the 20-year-old epileptic and blind.
He later fell into a fire during a seizure and lost both hands.
Papenfus, who has come under scrutiny for her media campaigns on Twitter and Facebook, said Addelaar’s claims would not upset proceedings. “The prosecution obviously has a solid case. Why else would they go ahead with it?”
She did not doubt that Flippie’s epilepsy and blindness were linked to the assault. “Medical reports with the prosecutor prove that he never suffered from epilepsy before the attack.”
She maintained that Addelaar’s claims were born out of fear. She said the Engelbrechts were shunned by the farming community after they lodged a case against Burger and Treurnicht.
“We’ve seen this in the past. People will do and say anything not to lose their jobs.”
Treurnicht is due back in the Ashton Magistrate’s Court on Friday.
After Burger’s and Treurnicht’s most recent court appearance, police used a stun grenade to disperse angry protesters outside the court building.
Papenfus said she almost felt sorry for Treurnicht because he now had to “face the music alone”.
“But Burger robbed Flippie of his justice. Treurnicht is all he has left.”
Burger’s family have remained silent since the farmer’s suicide. Nearby farmers said the family had been under a lot of strain since the case hit the headlines, with many retailers blacklisting the estate’s wines.